RV Rentals for 2017’s Total Solar Eclipse

Astronomers, photographers and people who are fascinated by astronomical wonders are going to want to gear up now for the first total solar eclipse visible in America since 1991. On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will begin eclipsing the sun until it completely envelops the sun’s brilliance for more than two minutes. Even more amazing, it will be the first time in ninety-nine years that the eclipse will move from west to east across the US. It’s a sight worth planning for!

Fortunately for eclipse enthusiasts, there are many places along the US viewing trajectory where a full eclipse can be seen, but it will take some planning to be in the right place at the right time! Renting an RV will keep you mobile as you move around weather patterns and other interference, giving you the best chance of seeing a sight most people will never get to see-the entire solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

When and Where Can I See the Total Eclipse?

Thanks to excellent eclipse viewing maps already created (see links below) we can plan our best viewing locations early. Here are the basics for following the path of the Pacific to Atlantic total solar eclipse:

  1. The ‘path of totality’ is an approximately sixty-mile-wide band of optimum viewing space along a trajectory from Oregon to South Carolina.
  2. The moon’s shadow will come between the earth and the sun at 10:15 a.m. PDT on the Oregon Pacific coast, traveling across America on a diagonal until it is visible from the South Carolina Atlantic coast at 2:45 p.m. EDT.
  3. People outside the path of totality may be able to see partial phases of the eclipse, but not the entire celestial event.
  4. Each location along the path will have approximately two minutes of optimum eclipse viewing.
  5. Clouds and weather patterns may interrupt eclipse viewing late in the game, hence the need to stay mobile.
  6. Eclipse followers from all over the world will be coming to America for this amazing event.

How Can We Start Planning?

This unusual event is sparking plenty of interest among astronomy clubs, foreign visitors, schools and homeschooling groups and government agencies. That doesn’t even take into account the average Jane or Joe who hopes to watch in an unfettered location along the eclipse trajectory. 

Fortunately, plenty of folks in the know have created websites, maps and guides to help you start planning. Here are just a few of the places to find complete information on the 2017 total solar eclipse:

  1. com
  2. org
  3. NASA Eclipse Website
  4. Eclipsophile Climate and Weather Guide

Use these helpful websites to determine where along the eclipse viewing path you’d like to set up camp. If you plan to do dispersed camping on BLM or Forest Service public lands in the West, be sure to contact the local office to determine where camping is available. Plan to arrive early, as interest is truly unprecedented and campsites will fill fast, especially in open locations.

If you plan to set up camp in a developed campground and then use your toad or tow vehicle to follow the eclipse, be sure to make reservations early, as eclipse mania will fill campgrounds fast along the best viewing routes. This is especially important for groups hoping to camp together for the event. Here is a helpful link to campgrounds in many states.

Tip: Keeping checking Community Eclipse Viewing Pages such as this one for updates on what plans are being made to welcome and encourage eclipse viewers along the ‘path of totality’.

You’ll also want to reserve RV rentals as early as possible for your family or group. Use this RV rental guide to determine what configuration recreational vehicle works best for you, where the closest RV rental location is and what the budget needs to be for your eclipse-viewing trip.

What’s left to plan? Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Transportation to the US from other countries
  • Transportation to RV rental location
  • Best route to eclipse viewing location and other attractions along the way
  • Purchasing protective eyewear certified for full solar viewing during the eclipse
  • Packing the equipment, clothing and food supplies appropriate for your length of stay
  • Planning an eclipse viewing party to celebrate this singular event!
  • For teachers and homeschoolers, prepare lesson plans around the science, history and mythology of eclipses

August 21, 2017 could well go down in history as one of the best documented and most viewed total solar eclipses ever. Renting an RV to follow the eclipse puts you in the best possible place for playing your own part in this memorable occasion.

Posted in North American RV Vacation, OR RV Vacation, RV Rentals, Vacation Planning | 2 Comments

RV Camping While Hiking and Climbing Kentucky’s Red River Gorge

About two hours east of Louisville, Kentucky is a place all RV travelers who enjoy hiking and rock climbing should explore. Red River Gorge Geological Area is tucked within the high ridges, riverfront cliffs and green expanses of Daniel Boone National Forest.

Camping there is easy, thanks to private and state park campgrounds throughout the forest, and miles of hiking trails and climbing routes are waiting to be traversed.

What RV Travelers Will Find at Red River Gorge

RV travelers have an easy route to the Gorge from the west, following I-64 east from Louisville into the national forest. If you’re coming from the east, follow I-81 W out of Roanoke, VA about five hours, to where the Red River meanders through an awe-inspiring limestone gorge.

Once you reach Daniel Boone National Forest, you’ll find a variety of natural wonders Daniel Boone National Forestworth exploring both in and around Red River Gorge. Picture a place where limestone arches and stunning, windswept cliffs rise up out of dense hardwood forest and you’ve got an idea what awaits you on your trip.

A favorite spot of Kentucky RV campers is Natural Bridge State Resort Park adjacent to the Gorge. The park is named for an enormous sandstone arch that’s easy to discover via well-maintained hiking trails. Motorhome travelers will also find electric campsites, a small lake perfect for paddling and plenty of family friendly activities there.

Climbing and Hiking at Red River Gorge

For campers hoping to put in some time rappelling or climbing, there’s no place better than Red River Gorge. Rock climbing opportunities abound among the ‘knobs’, cliffs and crags of ‘The Red’. Areas like The Motherlode, Torrent Falls and Military Wall offer dozens of climbing routes for a range of experiences.

Bring your own equipment or book the services of an area climbing guide to make the most of sport and traditional climbing opportunities while camping near Red River Gorge.

Need a little more incentive to pack the RV and head for Kentucky? The hiking available around the Red River Gorge is unparalleled, thanks to the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail that acts as the central hub of the area’s trail system.

Whether you plan to make several day hikes on your RV camping trip to Red River Gorge or follow the entire three-hundred-mile length of the Sheltowee Trace Trail, the scenery found along the ridges, waterways and gorges of central Kentucky will find a place among your favorite vacation memories.

So, what’s holding you back from taking your own RV trip to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge? Affordable RV rentals, easy access by interstate and excellent private and state park campgrounds make this trip one that’s perfect for rock climbing groups, adventurous families and nature-loving campers alike. Take the trip soon, and be sure to let us know in the Comments Section what you loved most about RV camping at Red River Gorge.

Posted in Kentucky RV Camping, Kentucky RV Vacation, RV Camping, RV Rental, RV Rentals, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | Leave a comment

RV Travel for Thanksgiving-Three Reasons It’s a Win

Can’t quite convince the family that a long-distance trip for Thanksgiving will be fun? Making the trek to holiday festivities in the minivan is probably not on anyone’s list of favorite things. But what if you could ‘wow’ the whole clan with a comfortable home away from home to take you there? There are three reasons making holiday trips by RV is a win all the way around.

Win #1: No Hotels or Restaurant Meals Necessary

Let’s suppose you’re making the trip from your home in Boston to Grandma’s house in Denver. That’s just under two thousand miles, an average of twenty nine hours on the road. Sounds grueling in the average family vehicle, with squirming, crowded kiddos and stops to load and unload the gang at restaurants and hotels.

What if, instead, you could travel in RV comfort to campsites along the way in beautiful settings? When you’re done exploring your surroundings, you can cook a healthy family meal in your RV kitchen and sleep in comfort, away from the crowds. Sounds like a win, doesn’t it? 

Win #2: No Missed Flights and Long Lines at Airports

Except in the movies, most families don’t make it through airline travel unscathed over the holidays. Lost luggage, missed flights, long security check lines and trying to keep the kids amused through long flights and airport layovers. Not a stellar way to begin and end a holiday.

But if the kids could read, watch television and spread out in the comfort of a motorhome, wouldn’t that be a holiday tradition you’d like to start this year? With today’s motorhomes, equipped with seatbelts to keep the kids safe on the road, you can travel with confidence while the youngsters have enough room to avoid sibling squabbles. Win-win!

Win #3: RV Rental Specials Make Holiday Travel Affordable

Here’s the major win for holiday-traveling families—holiday RV rental specials help keep your travel budget intact. If you don’t own your own RV, be sure to check out these specials to save your family big money.

And that’s just the first part of the holiday savings win. Research year-round campgrounds along your route to learn which ones offer reduced rates over the holidays. You might just be pleasantly surprised to find that the cost of renting an RV, taking food along to cook at the campgrounds and camping in memorable settings could be much less than airline tickets or hotel rooms and restaurant meals. Win-win-win!

Traveling for the holidays doesn’t have to be a dreaded family tradition. Why not surprise your crew with an affordable, luxurious RV to make the trip? You may just find it’s the first of many family RV expeditions.

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RV Travel: Millennials Behind the Wheel!

If you picture RV travelers as mostly senior citizens, think again! Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 (especially in the 25-35 year old range) are a growing segment of RV travel. Here’s why:

Millennials Value Outdoor Recreation

Spending time in outdoor pursuits is big on the list of things Millennials hold dear. That’s why visiting state and national parks, lakes and forests, mountains and beaches all over America by RV is a no-brainer.

There’s nothing quite like being out in nature to feed the soul, and these adventurers are hitting the road to find our country’s most beautiful places, one campsite at a time. The more biking, hiking, rock climbing and other activities the better—they’re making it a life priority to get outside and play!

Millennials Expect Amenities

Comfortable accommodations with access to technology are at the top of list for Millennial travelers, one more reason to travel to a national park, a beach where the waves are epic or a music festival by RV. Amenities common in modern recreational vehicles include flat screen televisions, generators, plenty of electrical outlets, memory foam beds and fully-equipped kitchens.

Many RV campgrounds offer cable television hookups and wireless internet, as well. If you enjoy a home-away-from-home experience as you travel, younger travelers need look no farther than today’s RVs.

Millennials Enjoy Traveling with Friends

RV travel with a group of friends makes sense! Splitting the costs of an RV rental, fuel and food helps everyone budget for the trip, and the memories made while on the road are priceless. The wide range of floorplans and accommodations make traveling by motorhome flexible enough to fit most groups of traveling buddies.

Millennials Enjoy Combining Work with Travel

This up and coming generation of professionals values working outside the office. What better way for freedom-loving Millennials to contribute than from the road?

Picture this—you pull your motorhome or travel trailer into one of the many campgrounds that offer free wi-fi. Nearby are hiking or biking trails, or perhaps a lake to paddle board on your lunch break. In the comfort of your fully-equipped RV, you brew a little coffee, fire up the laptop and finish the reports the boss is waiting for. The internet makes telecommuting simple and RV travel to well, just about anywhere in America, makes it a pleasure!

If you’re a part of the Millennial generation and you’re wondering whether RV travel is for you, why not take a trip to one of our rental locations? We’ve got trained staff on hand to help you learn your options, whether it’s for telecommuting from a national park or enjoying the great outdoors with a group of friends.

It’s time to hit the road, Millennials! RV travel can take you where you want to go, on your own terms and with the flexibility and amenities you value most.

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RV Camping on Florida Panhandle Scenic Byways

Beaches, wildlife and one magnificent sunset after another—that’s what you can expect to find while RV camping along the scenic byways of Florida’s Panhandle. We’ve picked three itineraries to help you discover the area’s diverse beauty.

RV Camping on Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway

Follow Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway to discover mysterious legends, small town charm and the highest bluffs on the Florida coast. Follow US-90 in Pensacola north along Pensacola Bay and get ready to fall under the spell of these fascinating places:

  • Magnolia Bluff – incomparable views of Escambia Bay
  • Emanuel Point – where shipwrecks wait to be discovered offshore
  • Bayou Texar – take the drive across the bridge for a one-of-a-kind experience
  • Gaberonne Swamp – discover the plants and animals of native swampland, with a touch of Spanish history tossed in for good measure
  • East Pensacola Heights – quaint shopping and residential district with old Florida charm

Search our directory of Florida campgrounds in the Pensacola area, and take your time to enjoy its dramatic beauty.

Scenic Highway 30A by RV

It’s less than thirty miles long, but this stretch of highway through Florida’s South Walton area encompasses the very best of the state. With more than a dozen distinct beach communities offering almost unlimited attractions, the question will be, “What should we enjoy first?”

Plan time to take in the sights, sounds and flavors along South Walton’s white sand beaches. From the architectural wonders of Seaside to the towering dunes of Blue Mountain Beach, there’s something for everyone to love along this byway. You’ll also want to add a trip to the area’s two state parks, Grayton Beach and Topsail Hill Preserve, to round out your enjoyment of South Walton. Bonus: both state parks boast full-service RV campgrounds!

Big Bend Scenic Byway

As this combination of highways winds between Tallahassee and Apalachicola, the Florida Panhandle RV traveler is treated to an amazing array of natural and cultural wonders. Use this detailed guide to the Big Bend Scenic Byway to map your route along the Coastal Trail spurs, the Forest Trail or the all-encompassing Two-Day Loop Trail. Everywhere you turn, you’re going to find something memorable on this Byway.

Big Bend Scenic Byway, Florida

Photo courtesy of http://www.floridabigbendscenicbyway.org/

Here are just a few of the sights you can see along the way:

  • George Island State Park—unspoiled beauty, sea turtles and plenty of specimens for your shell collection
  • Wakulla Springs State Park—home to one of the world’s deepest freshwater springs
  • Marks—a vintage coastal town where two rivers meet, with easy access to a wide range of hiking and biking trails
  • Ochlockonee River State Park—come watch for manatee and other coastal wildlife in this lush preserve
  • St Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse—seventy thousand acres of wetlands and marshes plus a well-preserved lighthouse make this a stop you’ll want to make.

As you travel through Florida’s sun-drenched Panhandle, you’ll find fascinating wildlife, beautiful beaches and history reaching back to the first Spanish explorers. Get in touch with us for a Florida RV rental and start planning your own epic journey along a Florida Panhandle Scenic Byway.

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RV Camping—Where Will 2015 Take YOU?

Are next year’s RV camping hopes already dancing in your head? The ease and comfort of camping in a motorhome may be lighting up vacation dreams for you and your family. So we’d like to know—where will 2015 take YOU and your family RV camping? saguaro national park, az

Will you go somewhere new this year or continue a camping tradition? Is there somewhere on your ‘bucket list’ that’s calling you to come explore? Please share your plans in the comments section below and, in the meantime, we’ll share some favorite RV camping spots from previous years.

Favorite Lakeside Camping Locations

There’s nothing quite like camping near a sky blue lake to breeze away everyday stresses. Here are some of the top picks among RV travelers for lakeside camping vacations:

Grand Haven State Park (Michigan): Located on a scenic beach between Lake Michigan and the Grand River, this state park’s beachside RV campground gets top marks. Walk the beach at sunset for spectacular views of the lighthouse and Grand Haven Pier.

Island Pond, Vermont: Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, just south of the Canadian border, is home to breathtaking mountain views, charming rural villages and RV camping next to crystal clear ‘ponds’. Island Pond is a favorite for trout fisherman, wildlife photographers and hikers.

Land between the Lakes National Recreation Area-Kentucky/Tennessee: Imagine two huge lakes divided by a one-hundred-seventy-thousand acre peninsula filled with trails, campgrounds and historic sites and you’ve got Land Between the Lakes. Fish, boat and explore both Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake and then take to the trails and scenic drives for first-rate 2015 RV camping.

Favorite Mountaintop Camping Experiences

Klamath River, California

Klamath River, California

High Sierra CampingCalifornia: Motorhome campers have found the campgrounds near the Oregon border in California’s High Sierras to be among their favorites. As you’re planning your 2015 RV camping itinerary, consider a stay on the banks of the Klamath River at Blue Heron RV Park, where you can kayak, hike, or fish for steelhead released from the nearby hatchery.

Ridgway State Park-Colorado: If you haven’t experienced the magnificent San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado, a trip to this state park near Ouray is in order. A mountain reservoir adds even more recreation possibilities to a stunning setting surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in America.

Favorite National Park RV Camping Spots

RV camping in America’s national parks is one of the best reasons to hit the road next year. Here are three top-ranked national park camping possibilities.

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida/Mississippi: Taking a motorhome vacation with kids in 2015? The barrier islands near Pensacola hold enough adventure to keep them busy all summer! Historic forts, quiet bayous, perfect, white sand beaches and a wide variety of outdoor recreation makes this a top pick among motorhome campers.

Redwood National and State Parks, California: The North Coast has drawn California RV campers for decades. Visitors will find not only the giant coast redwoods that give these five interconnected parks their name, they’ll also have the chance to experience wild, rocky beaches and meadows filled with wildlife. Likely to become a family favorite!

Gulf Island National Seashore

Gulf Island National Seashore

Hudson Valley National Heritage Area, New York: Hoping to plan an extended RV camping vacation in New York? The unforgettable Hudson River Valley has everything you’re looking for—hiking, biking and paddling trails, excellent fishing, scenic drives, quaint villages and lots of local history. Use this site to find the best motorhome camping in the Hudson Valley National Heritage Area.

Ready to start planning? We’re excited to hear where you’re going camping in 2015, and we’re always ready to help with an RV rental. Get in touch today, and don’t forget to add your ideas in the Comments!

 

Photo Credits: Klamath River – ((brian)) flickr commons; Gulf Island National Seashore – faungg’s photo flickr commons

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The Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses—An RV Traveler’s Guide

College football fans and RV campers who love a good parade are already making plans to be in Pasadena, California on January 1. Are you planning to join them for the must-watch, hotly contested Rose Bowl Game and the Tournament of Roses Parade?

Marching Band

Marching Band

For one hundred twenty six years, the Tournament of Roses Parade has thrilled parade watchers with flowered fantasy floats, newly-crowned parade royalty and skillful marching bands. The beautiful city of Pasadena opens its doors to hundreds of thousands of parade-goers each year and is more than up to the task.

And if you’re planning to attend the 101st Rose Bowl Game, going by RV makes it comfortable and affordable. If that sounds like a dream come true, there’s still time to make your RV rental reservation and get tickets for all the events.

Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip. Get started now!

Need-to-Know Basics for the Tournament of Roses Parade

    • When? January 1 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. PST
    • Where? Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA
    • Where Can I Camp? Because Pasadena is part of the larger Los Angeles metro area, you may not find an actual RV campground close by the parade route. Here’s the good news: the vendor-regulated parking areas (see Where Can I Park below) and many of the area businesses allow some form of ‘boondocking’ or camping without services. Here’s also a link to a list of campgrounds within 30 miles of Pasadena.
    • Will I Need Tickets? Grandstand seating is reserved and requires tickets. Purchase them here. You can also view the parade for free curbside. The curbside area opens for seating at noon December 31.
    • Where Can I Park? If you’re planning to camp outside the parade route, you may want to reserve parking closer in. The vendor who provides grandstand seating for the parade also makes available car or RV parking adjacent to the seating areas, for up to three days. Here’s the link to purchase parking space for the Rose Parade.
    • Anything Happening Before and After the Parade?  Plenty! Watch the marching bands in action before the parade by attending Band Fest either December 29 or December 30. If you’d love to see the magic that transforms thousands of flowers and natural items into award-winning floats, schedule time to watch float decorating at one of three official venues during parade week. There’s also a showcase of floats following the parade. Here’s a link to pre- and post- parade event details.

Need-to-Know Basics for the Rose Bowl Game

    • When? January 1 – Pre-game activities begin at 1:30 p.m. PST. Don’t miss any of the excitement!
    • Where? Rose Bowl Stadium, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA. The chance to see this historic, one-of-a-kind stadium is worth the trip. Home to the oldest bowl game in America!
    • Who’s Playing in 2015 Rose Bowl? Oregon vs. Florida State

      Rose Bowl Game

      Rose Bowl Game

    • Where Do I Buy Tickets? Rose Bowl tickets are selling out fast, so click the link for contact information and make the call today.
    • Where is RV Parking Allowed? Along with a special lot for RV and bus parking at the stadium, you can also reserve parking at the off-site lots, some of which run shuttles to the stadium. Here’s a link for more info on RV parking at the Rose Bowl.  Every RV traveler to California should see the Rose Bowl at least once. Choose your events, buy your tickets, rent your RV and reserve a space at the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game. You’ll be so glad you did!

We’ve tried to answer most of your questions about RV camping at the Rose Bowl this year, but if we’ve missed one, here’s how to reach the Visitor Hotline for the Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade.

Photo Credits: Marching Band photo: Prayitno, Flickr Commons License ; Rose Bowl Game photo: Keith Skelton, Flickr Commons License

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Rent an RV Guest House for the Holidays

Are friends and family coming in for the holidays and your house is full to the rafters? Instead of reserving hotel rooms for your visitors, why not rent an RV as your holiday guest house?

El Monte RV Premier Motor Home Rental 2014 Model

El Monte RV Premier Interior View of a Motorhome

Keep reading to learn why an RV rental is the perfect way to open your home to more visitors this holiday season.

  • RV Styles for Every ‘Guest House’ Need: With so many styles of motor homes to choose from, every holiday host can offer comfortable accommodations. From top-of-the-line ‘bus style’ Class A units to roomy cabover Class C motorhomes with convenient slide-outs, there’s an RV to accommodate your overflow housing needs. Whether it’s the newlywed cousins or a family of six coming to stay, there’s a style of motorhome to meet your needs.
  • RV Comfort to Pamper Your Guests: Offer your holiday season guests the luxury and comfort of today’s RVs. Separate bedrooms, modern kitchens for preparing midnight snacks and an amazing amount of storage keep holiday visitors comfortable without paying for pricey hotel rooms. Tips for even more holiday fun: use the extra space to organize late night card games, a grown-up girls’ slumber party or football night in the RV man cave!IMG_3856
  • RV Guest House Privacy and Convenience: Too many guests in one house can spell trouble over the holidays! Even the closest of friends or families can get on each other’s nerves when squeezed into cramped quarters. Let your guests enjoy the convenience of separate space in your “RV guest house”. For guests who need their privacy, even on a holiday trip, your guest house on wheels will become a favorite hideaway. No better way to keep your visitors jolly!
  • RV Holiday Rentals are Affordable:   All that comfort and they’re affordable, too! RV rentals, especially when you take advantage of special holiday rates, beat the price of hotel rooms hands-down. Check out rental pricing for a motor home that sleeps your number of extra guests comfortably and then compare it to local holiday hotel rates for the same number of guests. Amazing, isn’t it, how affordable RV accommodations can be? Factor in the convenience, comfort and flexibility of renting motorhome guest quarters and you’ll be booking a rental RV for every holiday!   Picture of Holly
  • Renting an RV for the Holidays is Easy: With convenient El Monte RV Rental locations across America, finding and renting the perfect RV guest accommodations is easy. Just let us know how many guests will be sleeping in the motorhome, how many nights you’ll need the extra space and when you’ll need to pick up the motorhome. Our helpful staff at every location will help you select just the right RV and check that holiday task off your list.Why send extra guests away to hotels when an RV guest house keeps them close to the holiday fun? Give your holiday visitors a special treat this year—the privacy, comfort and convenience of guest quarters just steps from your front door. Your home might just become their favorite holiday destination!
  • Santa's One RV Open Sleigh Saves the Day!

    Santa’s One RV Open Sleigh Saves the Day!

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Lower Gulf Coast RV Getaway

Are you hoping to get away from ice, sleet and snow when you hit the road this winter? Florida’s Lower Gulf Coast offers fabulous weather, fascinating attractions and top-notch RV camping.

Ft. Meyers, Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler’s Cove

The southwestern coast of Florida centers on the sunny islands of Sanibel and Estero and the cities of Fort Myers and Naples. Whether you choose to add to your seashell collection, soak up the sun on a white sand beach or kayak down a tree-lined paddling trail, there’s a place to do it when you get here.

Ride along as we unveil the joys of RV camping on Florida’s Lower Gulf Coast!

Places to Enjoy

With more than a dozen amenity rich RV parks in the Fort Myers/Estero Island area, there’s no reason not to go right now. Find the park closest to your favorite attractions and call today for reservations.

Here are just a few of the reasons RV travelers love the laid-back beauty of the region:

    • Beaches: This sun-drenched region is a haven for beach-loving motorhome travelers. With calm seas and gentle slopes underwater, you can safely enjoy your time in the water. Just a few of the family-friendly beaches you’ll want to explore are Bowditch Point Park, Lovers Key State Park, Lynn Hall Memorial Park and Pier and Lighthouse Park Beach on nearby Sanibel Island.
    • Wildlife: Grab a kayak and paddle the Great Calusa Blueway to spot dolphins and manatees within an oar’s reach of your watercraft. Hike the trails at Estero Bay Preserve State Park for a full day of bird watching in an unspoiled setting. If you have the time, make the jump to Sanibel Island’s J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge. That’s where thousands of migratory birds arrive each winter, to make their home with the resident shorebirds. And did we mention the alligators?
    • Golf: Did you know that one of the biggest draws to Florida’s southwestern coast is the availability of excellent golfing? Thrill your golf playing campers with world-class opportunities to play. Here’s a useful link to golf courses in the region—reserve your tee times before you go and don’t forget the sunscreen!
    • History: Like to visit historic sites? Then Florida’s Lower Gulf Coast is your perfect winter vacation spot, with attractions like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s winter homes in Fort Myers, Sanibel Island Lighthouse and Estero’s Koreshan State Historic Site that includes the remnants of a 19th century utopian compound. From early Native American burial mounds to a museum of railroad history, you’ll find your history fix in the Fort Myers area.
    • Shopping: If someone in your RV camping family likes to shop, they’ll have to pace themselves, because there are literally too many outlet malls and upscale shopping districts to count. Top recommendations are legendary Miromar Outlets, the scenic Coconut Point mall in Estero and Fort Myer’s exciting River District.                        

Ready to roll your RV toward fascinating southwest Florida? We’re ready to help with RV rentals and information on local attractions. Don’t wait—experience Florida’s Lower Gulf Coast this year.

 Monty the MotorhomePhoto credit:  Smuggler’s Cove, Ft. Meyer’s by Jason Helle, licensed under Flickr Creative Commons

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Create an RV Camping Classroom for the Kids!

Smart families start planning their spring RV camping trips early to get the best reservations and discounts. There’s another reason to plan early for your next camping vacation with the kids—you’ll have time to create a fun ‘RV camping classroom’ to keep them entertained, educated and challenged as you travel.

Family Fun in an El Monte RV

Family Fun in an El Monte RV!

We’ve got lots of ideas for teaching young campers as you travel—and they won’t even mind the homework!

RV Camping Classroom Ideas

  • Catch the Camping Bug:  Bring along a magnifying glass (or load a magnifying app on your cell phone) and plastic containers with lids and go on an insect safari. Have youngsters look up ahead of time what kinds of bugs live where you’ll be camping. Give a small prize (gummy bugs?) for each kind they find, and ask them  to write about, draw or make up a story about the insects they catch. Tip: Accompany younger kids to avoid insect bites!
  • Create a Colorful Campground: When it’s time to take a break from swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, set up watercolors and sturdy paper on the picnic table. Encourage young artists to interpret nature on paper, and take along fishing line and bag clips to make a campground art gallery.
  • Vacation Memories in a Box: Another artistic way to encourage campground learning is to bring a shoebox for each child, along with a collection of art supplies. Have each young artist create a diorama that represents their favorite memories of the trip—natural wonders, campground antics, animals in the wild—you may be surprised by what they want to remember! Pack their creations carefully to display back home.
  • Camping Finance Challenge: RV camping makes vacations affordable, but do the kids know what it costs to take your trips? Give each child a ledger (paper or app) where they can record expenses along the way (here’s a great sample ledger.) Give them a head start by taking them shopping for camping trip groceries and supplies. Point out where to see the cost of gas on a pump and how to figure tips at roadside cafes. Up the ante by giving each child a budget for their own camping expenses like souvenirs and snacks. Award the best budget hound for keeping accurate track of the most expenses.
  • Look to the Skies! One of the things we love most about camping in the great outdoors is the ability to see stars and constellations invisible in the city. Teach your kids about the heavens by taking along a telescope, using a helpful astronomy app like Pocket Universe or just laying on a blanket and looking up. There are lots of ways to expand this RV classroom exercise—draw, paint or sculpt what they see in the sky, write a story about space travel or challenge them to make up their own planets, complete with occupants!
  • Animal Arithmetic: Create a simple set of miniature playing cards on paper, with a photo or picture of common birds or animals on each and a numeric value assigned. Have the youngsters cut them out and put a set for each of them in envelopes. As you travel and camp, instruct them to watch for those birds and animals, look them up on their cards and track the numeric value on the outside of their envelopes. Decide how much you’ll let them score for spotting unusual species. On the last day of your RV camping vacation, have them add their totals and award a prize to the child with the highest score.
  • Camp Captain: Teach your children leadership skills on vacation by telling them ahead of time they’ll be in charge of one family activity.
  • Assign them a campground meal to plan and enlist others to help them cook.
  • Let them decide what hiking trail the family will take and then ask them to plan how long it should take and what they’ll need to take along (water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, etc.).
  • If you’re camping near historical sites, have them choose one as a day trip and then prepare a preview for the family.

Any kind of activity families can do while camping can be turned into a fun and educational experience. Remember to allow young campers to do things to their own ability and don’t expect perfection—you’re on vacation, after all!

Let us know what types of RV camping classroom ideas you’ve tried while traveling with the kids. Share your epic successes (and your funny failures) below so other camping families can learn from your experience. And don’t forget to let us know if you need help planning an RV rental

Photo Credit:  An El Monte RV customer photo, permission granted.

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